Monday, December 22, 2008

It's Time for New Years resolutions!!!!!

I was just watching the Today Show and they were discussing New Year's Resolutions. They gave a great tip. Make small and realistic goals. This will give you a better chance of keeping them and that will make you feel better about yourself! I agree. This is the same thing I have been preaching on this blog. The number 2 New Year's resolution is to get organized. In fact January has been named GO (get organized) Month for this very reason. If it is one of your goals then great!!! I want to help make that posssible. My plan for this blog for the New Year is to take a room a month and lead discussions on how to tackle that particular space. We will take small steps and as we complete each room we will also discuss how to maintain the past rooms we have organized. Remember being organized has to become part of who you are not just something you did one weekend. I will post a new blog each Sunday. Together we will get you organized!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Kids' art work: to keep or not to keep it!

I was driving this weekend and listening to a radio talk show on getting organized. A lady called and asked for advice regarding the amount of her children's art work she had. She was overwhelmed. The host gave advice to create a zone for the art work and then set an amount like 50 and stay within the zone and the quantity. This advice is fluff. A mother doesn't think in terms of numbers or zones when looking at her kid's art; cute little fingerprint turkeys, self portraits, letters to mommy. This is emotional. There are a lot of things that have to be taken into consideration. How many kids do you have, how old are they, etc. The lady that called in said she had every piece of paper her children had ever scribbled on. O.k. this is a great start. Separate the art into piles for each child. Tackle one child's art at a time. Take the artwork and separate it again by time frames. Now take the youngest art pile and let's make some decisions. A few scribbles on a piece of paper does not make a good keepsake. Artwork that includes their finger or handprints, self portraits, drawings of family, these are good types of artwork to hold onto. As they get older creative stories become a great keepsake. Don't just go through it once. Get rid of what you can and then next year go back though it along with the new art work and continue to narrow down. Here are some suggestions if you are like a lot of my clients and need more assistance than that. When your child brings home art work pick out what you really want and then allow the cild to pick out pieces they want to give to other people. In our house we send art to grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. We write a sweet note on the back and mail it off. The kids love sharing what they are doing with other people and you don't have the difficult task of throwing any of it away. And if you need more help ask a friend to be an objective voice.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Organizing your new schedule! For moms!!!

O.K. mom so you thought you had it all together and then your little ones are back to school or in my case starting school for the first time. I have been running my business since my 5 year old was a newborn. I thought I had it all together and then BAM! kindergarten. She has more going on in a week than I ever imagined. So now I have had to step back and re-evaualte how to do it all and keep my head above water. If you have been reading my blog then you know I am a big proponent of help. And help in any form you can find it. But I also want to be involved. This time in my girls' lives is so exciting to me and I really want to be there, but I also run a large business and the two can often conflict. First things first; prioritize! I can't be everywhere all the time. I had to make a list of everything going on and then number their importance. After I put them in order of priority I then had to look at how realistic they were. Did they conflict with other important items and if so I had to choose. After I had my list then I pulled out my planner. Let's just get this straight; if you want to get your time managed you CAN NOT do it with out a planner. This planner needs to be suited for your idividual needs and must be with you all of the time. I suggest Franklin Covey because they have so many options and you can customize your planner. Next I would suggest color code. I use red for the times I have scheduled for my kids. I want to make sure it catches my eye and that I don't overlook a practice or event. After that I use blue for work and even that is further color coded (since I run business in multiple states). I also believe in time blocks and multi-tasking. And I have had to delegate responsibilities to others. You can't do it alone! If I find something coming up I look at my time blocks and decide if I can borrow time out of that block or if I will have to add time to the end of my day. I am very protective of my time. I answer e-mails twice a day. I never answer unknown phone calls. If it is important they will leave a message. I have a great traveling file system. This helps when I am in carpool line and need to return phone calls or write checks, etc. I can go into further details about that in another blog. It saved my life!! Everyone should have a traveling file. And when I am with my children,I am with my children. I suffer from the same guilt all working mothers do, but I try to ease that guilt by making the time I have with them quality time. I don't want them to feel as if I have one foot back in the office when its their turn. And lastly some things had to be removed from the list. There are some things that I wanted to happen, but after a hard look at my schedule I had to let them go and put them on a future ideas list. Sometimes it's tough but after you let go you can better enjoy yourself and the things that you are doing. Good luck and happy scheduling! I am here if you need help deciding how to make time work for you.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

In the wake of sadness

Last Sunday one of my beloved employees lost her husband. At the very young age of 28 it was a shocking and tragic loss. His wonderful wife and my dear friend is now everything she works to eliminate for others; in the middle of emotional chaos. Feeling anything but organized, she feels lost, confused, and chaotic.
Most of us walk around this world so busy with the day to day rerquirements our life places on us we hardly give a second thought to the day we will no longer be here. Having children will make that clearer for some but not others. Its definately not something we want to dwell on but there is a type of organizing that we all need to take some time and make sure we handle; the organizing of things that will come in to play in the event a tragic accident or cancer or anything else that takes us away from our loved ones too soon. Some of you may have heard of Randy Pausch and The Last Lecture (for those of you who haven't I beg of you to google him and watch his lecture - it will change your life!!), he told Diane Sawyer in an interview that his family was about to be thrown off a cliff and he had a short time to sew a net. Randy was one of the lucky ones who knew the time was coming and could prepare. What if you had no time? What do you need to make sure of? In addition to the logistical organizing of finances and a will, are there relationships that you need to fix? I had a client once tell me that her son said that when she died he was going to bring a dumpster to the house and just load everything in. That led her to call me and we worked hard on her home to make sure that she got rid of the junk, donated the things she liked but had no use for and took care of the things that were important to her. It's not an uncommon call. As people get older they don't want to leave their loved ones with too much stuff to deal with or not know that things that were important to them were not just thrown out. So whether you are 25 or 85 its time to take a few minutes and get your last wishes organized; their is no better gift for your loved ones then to have some peace and organization during a chaotic and disorganized time. And to my dear friend, who is suffering; may the hand of God reach out and touch you and give you the peace and strength you need to get through this time. My love for you is great; you're not alone; I'll be by your side; always.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Organizing a 3 year old

I tell my clients all the time that I can organize children and adults of all ages. All you need is self discipline and the right tools. I have organized my children and it has been a test of strength but it is working. The key is making it as easy as possible and not allowing more toys and games than you have space for. That being said I have a three year old who could easily turn every hair on your head grey! She is God's way of showing me that everything doesn't have to be perfect to be organized. She has forced me to think out of the box! Her name is Ava and she is an amazingly free spirited, fun loving, care free child with all the personality of an upper east side ninety year old lady who has lived a life of priveledge and is use to being catered to. If I believed in reincarnation I would be looking up records of every old lady who died the day Ava was born! She is a challenge to organize. Currently we are going through a phase where she wants to change clothes every 5 minutes. If she sees a pair of pink pajamas on t.v., off she goes and quickly reappears in her own pink pajamas. I also have a niece that suffered from this, it must be common. Of course dress up clothes will not do for her, so I decided to give her a drawer with some dresses, dance clothes, etc. and told her that she was limited to what was in the drawers if she felt the need to change. I'm not about to cut off her fun or creativity but I need, for my peace of mind, to keep an orderly home. The drawers were a no go. Ava cannot stand boundaries. She is a major test of will. At this point most of my clients give up in this type of situation. Not me! I moved the clothes that she can change into and placed them in a closet right outside of her bedroom and then I have locked her door. Of course this made her very angry. I let her have that emotion. She is allowed to be angry with me. But I explained to her that we had to compromise. Just like the fact that if we don't eat a good dinner there is no dessert; if we can't follow the rules for our bedroom then we can't go in there. She has a playroom anyway, she doesn't have to be in her room. After a few days of seeing that the door remained locked unless it was bedtime, she said she wanted to go into her room and she wouldn't pull her clothes out of the closet. I too compromised. I realize she liked looking at the clothes hanging and choosing what to change into. I let her choose a few dresses that are not expensive but that she likes and hung them low so that she could get to them and I told her that she could have those dresses to play with as long as she hung one up before putting another on. Now things are better. You have to set an expectation with your kids regarding self discipline. It will bring them far in life in so many aspects. But you must have it too.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Organizing Inspiration

Yesterday afternoon I stopped by a client's house and she brought me to her kitchen to show me a quote she had on her refrigerator. I don't remember it verbatum or who it was by but the message is a great one.

Man's wealth is not determined by how much he has but what with dignity he can do without.

Wow! Just stop for a moment and think about this. If this is the first time to read my blog you are seeing this theme for the first time, if you've been following along (and yesterday the yellowpage sales guy called to say he reads!)this theme is coming up again and again.

As some of you know I lost my home and all of my possessions in Katrina. Everything. I started over on August 29th 2008 with a 8 week old, a 2 yaer old, 2 dogs, 2 suitcases and 1 husband. My business dangled in the unknown.

The point is I lost everything and had the opportunity to look at all of the possessions I had and decide what of that was really important. And when March of 2006 came and I moved into my new house, I put in it just what I needed and nothing more. I realized how much of what I had before wasn't necessary. I realized what was important and that was living not things!

Look around your house today and pick out 10 things you can with dignity do without. Bring them to a donation place. Knowing what you need and what you don't is an important step in getting organized!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

successful organizng comes over time

I here clients say all the time that they used to be organized, or that they have tried and it lasted a little while but then things went back to being disorganized. They feel like they have failed or in some way they don't deserve to be organized.

Everyone can be organized and everyone deserves to reach those goals.

Its just that we need to be realistic about what level of organization that is right for us. My OCD style of organizing my home is not for everyone. Believe me! You need to find a style that is right for you and take baby steps.

Don't make broad unrealistic statements like; I'm going to get my house organized this weekend. I have spent 8 weeks with 5 organizers in some homes and still have things to work on.

Take it slow and if you fall off the organization wagon, pick your self up and try again.

Confucius once wrote, "our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising evey time we fall."

So today; RISE!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

You are worth living an organized life!!

In the fall of 2005 Oprah wrote an editorial piece in O At Home about being organized. I, as you would imagine hold on to very little, but this piece I kept. In it she refers to Thelma Gordon, director of New York's Studio Museum in Harlem. Oprah writes about how impressed she was with this woman's ability to have such an organized home considering how small her New York apartment is and how busy her life is. Oprah writes, ". . .a woman with high regard for both her daily work and her ambitions sees to it that her environment lines up with that self-respect." Oprah goes on to write "Maintaining a gorgeous house or apartment is about respecting the very important person who lives in it. You."

You can see why I've held on to this. It's inspiring. It's the message I try to relay to my clients everyday. Choose to live better, choose to spend wiser, choose to love yourself. Ultimately getting organized and getting rid of the clutter is more about how we feel about ourselves and what we want for our life than just getting rid of some of our stuff.

More and more people are seeing the value of getting organized and learning to live with less. They are starting to realize that the only "Jones" are the ones in their head. As you make that choice it's also o.k. to get professional help. Hire an organizer if you need to or enlist the help of a friend.

It's not only o.k., it's becoming the new "IT" thing to do!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A little more Organized every day!!

I am happy that today after months of thinking about it; we have added the blog to our site!!! Now you really can read along with me and hopefully your comments and questions will help guide the direction we go in. I look forward to hearing from you!

As for today I can only say it has been a rough one. So there, you see? Even the organizer has a disorganized and rough day! I love my clients, but let's be real we are all human so nothing is going to be perfect all the time. Today I have a client that is late in paying her bill. Apparently I haven't organized that aspect of her life yet. She is now hiding out from us. What do they call that?


This is a woman who is as sweet as they come. We had a wonderful time in her home and had become friends but now over 2 months later she is hurtig this relationship because she is disorganized in her spending or in her bill paying. That breaks my heart. And my pocket book! But that's a sad song for another day.

We all know money is tight for everyone right now, but if you have a bill to pay; take care of it or at least let the person know you are having financial difficulty. I would be happier to have the relationship than the money but it looks like for now, I've lost both.

The moral of this story. Disorganization is not just a messy closet it can also be a messy pocket book. And the effects can stretch further than you think. There is no greater disorganization than financial disorganization. So today if you owe someone money and just can't pay it, pick up the phone and let them know. You might be surprised how they respond and you will feel so much better!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

what's going on in the organizing world today

Every day I organize for people. I help them figure out what is causing the their disorganization and how to work with their natural habits to create systems that work for them and allow them to keep the organization I help set in place. And that's a good day. That's why I do this day in and day out. I want to help people reclaim their life and get back to what's important. And whats imporatnt is not stuff in your home! Every now and then i.e. right now I get frustrated with the lack of living I see going on in people's homes. Everyone is incorrectly focused on what they have and how to get more. And they wonder why they are in the stressed out state that they and their kids live in. You can't have it all! You can't. And why would you want it anyway. The more you have the more things get complicated. And I'm not talking about just the big things, it's even the small things. Today I'm asking you to get rid of the excess and start living. Get help and get organized.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

My thoughts on organizing today

In the shower this afternoon I reflected on organizing and the content of the book I am trying to write. Getting organized is not as easy as it sounds. For most people it's almost impossible to do on their own. Book after book tells us how easy it is but do you ever wonder why all they offer is vague information and pie in the sky ideas but never give you the step by step this is how you do it guide? As a professional organizer I have read just about every book ever written on organizing and most are so general you get to the end just to find yourself still waiting for the goden secret to get yourself out from under the clutter in your life. That aggravates the crap out of me. You wanna know the golden secret? Getting organized is hard for most people. It requires us to look at ourselves and admit the ugly truth; it would be nice to be organized but we don't really want to do what it takes to get there or have the self discipline to stay organzied after you achieve your goals. This doesn't mean you are stupid or that you don't have what it takes, it just means you're not getting the right help and you have probably read a crappy book with general ideas and no hard core facts and steps. My book will be different. And at the end of my book there will be a way to contact me in case you need more help or you need further explanation of any of the steps.
But for now I'm readig a vague and general book on how to write a book and I haven't the self discipline to finish!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

I promise to be better organized!

I should be blogging everyday, but due to my lack of being as organized as I should be I haven't. Or maybe I could put a positive spin on it and say that because I am so organized I have had to prioritize and the blog didn't make the top 100! In any case I feel that the craziness which is my life should be logged in some way.

Just in case you are wondering and before I continue; we are the best organizers in the U.S. and I expect perfection from all of my employees! That being said, last Thursday we unknowingly drilled a hole in a client's waste pipe and yesterday found out that it slowly flooded her laundry room. Like I said; perfection! Then my Birmingham project manager let me know that we would be replacing a printer for a client and not just because we are generous people! Ah, the perfection just fills the air.

Stay tuned as I travel to New Orleans with 3 employees to manage 3 projects at the same time, film a morning show segment, and interview 20 people all in one week.